Government has targeted to buy about 500, 000 metric tonnes (mt) of maize grain during this year’s crop marketing season.
And government has assured farmers around the country that it will soon begin buying maize from them.
Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister Greyford Monde said the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was already positioned in all the districts to begin to buy from farmers once the exercise commences.
In an interview with ZANIS Business news in Lusaka today, Mr. Monde said having retained the same price from the previous marketing season of K65 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag of maize, government hopes to buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize grain this year.
He has since urged farmers not to panic and not sell their grain to unscrupulous business people.
“Let them just be patient. Government will buy their maize and this time we are going to concentrate on far flung areas,” he said.
And Mr. Monde has reiterated that the readjustment of subsidies in agriculture will not adversely affect prices of maize as purported in some sections of society.
“Those who are saying the adjustment of subsidies will push prices up, which subsidy are they referring to? Because the subsidy on production has remained the same so there will not be any overshoot,” he said.
He reiterated that the removal of subsidy on maize will instead help develop the infrastructure such as roads in the country.
Mr. Monde said this will make it easy for government to reach more far flung areas to buy maize from farmers.
“As government, we want to protect our grain. With a yield of about 2.5 million metric tonnes, it is crucial that we put in measures to protect our grain. So by putting up roads we will be able to go in the remotest of places to purchase grain from farmers,” he said.